8 Week Low Carb Diet Update

Hi guys,

Hope you’re all well. Sorry that I have been mostly AWOL. Work has been relentless the past couple of months and has no signs of letting up BUT I have been on plan every single day. This is going to be quite a lengthy post so grab a brew and a snack!

So it’s been 8 weeks exactly since I decided (on a whim) to go on a low carb diet. On the whole, I’m feeling fantastic! My insomnia has become less frequent and I’m getting a good 7-8 solid hours of sleep a night. Unfortunately my ability to wake up in the morning has yet to catch up – I would love to be a morning person! Maybe there’s time for me yet…

I had a dietician appointment at the beginning of the month. I left the appointment feeling very conflicted. On one note, the dietician was happy that after three appointments and 9 months, I had finally started to shift some weight. However, when she asked me what I had changed and I mentioned that I had gone low carb, she seemed particularly concerned, especially when I said I was aiming for around 80-90g a day. Even more so when she asked what my sources of carbs were and I replied mainly fruits and vegetables. According to her, they don’t count as having carbohydrates and I should have 30g per meal of starchier items such as bread, pasta, rice, etc as well as 10g carbs worth of fruit and 10g carbs worth of dairy. PER DAY.

I did mention that my bloods were really good and my blood pressure had gotten so much better that I could cut back on a tablet but she gave me a good telling off. I admit I felt really confused. I had done my research beforehand from various sources including the diabetes.co.uk website and the advice she was giving me conflicted all of this. On consulting the diabetes.co.uk forum, it turns out that a number of people have experienced the same thing. On talking to my family, I have decided to see how it goes as I am now and if I begin experiencing any bad side effects, I can always introduce more carbs into my diet. I am including one or two sources of starchier carbs in my diet a week – for example, a small portion of potatoes or a slice or two (depending on how I’ve eaten!) of the Weightwatchers malted bread as I LOVE avocado toast!

Despite the ups and downs of the dietician appointment, she did manage to get the nurse to fit me in for a HBA1C test and my result was really good! This time last year, I was at 98. I have managed to get it down to 43 – even the nurse congratulated me as she gave my result to me.

So, in 8 weeks, my total weight loss stands at 9.5kg or 1.5 stone. The last month I’ve lost 9lbs so around 2-2.5lbs a week which is at a nice safe rate according to the NHS. I had started a couple of DietBets last month to boost my motivation and as my final weigh ins are this week, I think I’ll be happy with a bit of extra pocket money too! I’ve also been regularly swimming three times a week and walking to work and back at least once a week. My feet no longer hurt walking 2-3 miles and being on my feet at work so it’s a massive bonus!

However, one thing I have not enjoyed one bit (and if it’s too TMI, don’t scroll down any more!) is that my periods have come back with a vengeance. I have had the implant in since 2009 (replaced every 3 years) and haven’t really had one since then. I’ve had spotting every now and then but that’s about it. The beginning of September started with one of the heaviest and crampiest periods I have ever had and turns out my cycle has decided to become regular straight away. Damn. I’m not sure if my implant has run out early (as it has around 6 months before my scheduled removal date the last two times) or if the weight loss has kick started my cycles. Either way, it’s the one thing that’s very much not welcome! My doctor said I have to see if they become really regular before they will consider changing the implant early as this time round it’s only two years in so I guess I’ll have to put up with it until then!

Well, that’s all I have to update you guys on for now – until next time.. x

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Low Carb – One Month Update

Hi guys,

Hope you are all well! I’m sorry for going AWOL once again. Work has been majorly short staffed so I have been working without a day off since mid-August. It has been hard but I was so determined to stick to my diet change that I decided to prioritise my food prep/planning/shopping over time to blog (I’m sorry!).

Today, you find me off work due to a massive stinking head cold. I feel absolutely horrible with a fever, sore throat and endless runny nose. It started on Monday and I’ve already gone through a box of Kleenex. The dizziness has at least worn off, so it’s something.

So, as I’ve been so used to working non stop and my days being chockablock, I am totally restless so this is clearly the ideal time to give you guys an update. It’s officially been just over a month since I’ve been low carbing – yay! I’ve managed to stick to it which for me is amazing. By updating my instagram (profile: yzzy.bella) every day, it has really helped me keep on track.

I have been updating my weight on Instagram every two weeks but I did a cheeky weigh in this morning as I knew I wanted to update on here. So officially one month and four days (five official weeks) I have lost 1st 0.5lb (or 6.6kg).

My weigh ins were as follows from 16th August 2017:
Start Weight: 96.4kg or 15st 2lb
Week 2: 92.7kg or 14st 8lb (-3.7kg/-8lb)
Week 4: 91kg or 14st 4.5lb (-1.7kg/-3.5lb)
Week 5: 89.8kg or 14st 2lb (-1.2kg/-2.5lb)

I’m so happy! Also I’m so freaking close to my lowest ever weight in the past 6 years. I have been using MyFitnessPal on and off since 2011 when I weighed 102.1kg (16st 1.5lb), which wasn’t my highest of 104.75kg (16st 7lb) during my second year of university which was just before my first weigh in on MFP. My lowest ever weight since using MFP was 89.4kg (14st 1lb) on 27th September 2014. It’s been almost three years so I think I would like to match that by the end of the month and be the lightest I’ve been in 6 years. How crazy would that be?

In other news, I have been exercising regularly since the start of August. I’ve been doing hourly swims with my youngest sister three times a week, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. Wanting to do yoga at home is next on my list and then perhaps restarting at the gym. We will see! I have big plans haha.

One thing I have found particularly hard (which I mentioned in my last post) is consuming fats. Everything I’ve read, what the NHS have promoted, are about low fat diets. I’m so used to looking for low fat foods. Yet, by consuming more fat, I’m less hungry, my moods are more even and I’m actually managing to stay within my calorie limit. It’s crazy! Obviously, this is working for me and I have struggled on higher carb diets in the past few years but everyone is different, don’t forget.

My macros at the moment: I have tweaked them slightly. I have averaged 68g of carbs daily for the past month so I have lowered my carb and protein targets slightly and raised my fats. Daily target: protein – 110g (28%), fat – 90g (52%), carbs – 80g (20%).

Health update wise, my blood sugars have been really good. The past month I have averaged 5.2mmol/L. My blood pressure has been a bit low so that my doctor has actually stopped one of my tablets. I was a bit worried when she stopped the indapamide as it’s a water tablet and I thought it might possibly have an effect on my weight loss so far but I’ve still managed to lose so I’m OK. I’ve been getting a few more normal results but still on the lower end so I think I’ll review with the doctor when I see her in a couple of weeks.

Overall, if it wasn’t for this horrible cold, I’ve been feeling really good about life and myself. I can’t wait to get over this cold and see where this journey takes me now that I’ve found what is working really well for me.

Until next time.. x

Diet Change

Hi guys,

I have to apologise for me leaving you guys again. After my second job finished, I’ve been trying to put as many hours as I can at my first job so I have a bit of money coming in! Next week I’m working 8 days in a row >.<

But anyhow, I wanted to update you on how I’m doing. The past month has been quite stressful with worrying about money and family. I’d fallen off the wagon a bit and generally feeling quite crappy and sorry for myself. The thing is, I wasn’t bothered enough to do anything about it. Then, I just happened to want to go to Costco as I hadn’t been in over a year/two years and I saw a diabetes cookbook. Don’t ask me what drew me to it, especially as it focussed on the story of the author’s type 1 diabetic child (I’m type 2), but it really resonated with me.

I decided I was going to go low carb. I’m on day 3 so far and I’m feeling generally OK. Yesterday was the “new diet blues” where you’re constantly ravenous despite eating (I blame my body craving sugar) but I’m already seeing results which is nice. My blood pressure is down a bit, my blood sugars have fallen slightly and I’ve lost a kilo (though I did put 3 on in a month and I know that weight fluctuates daily but it’s just nice to see the scales go down!).

One thing that has confused me though, is what macros to actually use. I know I wanted to go low carb, but not enough to go into ketosis (I struggled really badly on the Cambridge Weight Plan which focussed on staying in this) so I knew I wanted to start on about 90g carbs. The hardest part after was trying to figure how much protein and fat to eat. A lot of advice leads to having higher fat consumption, which I have really struggled to get my head around. I’ve used a couple of macro calculators and some were telling me to eat 100g of fat! Personally, I would prefer to focus more on protein but there are warnings not to go too high or you won’t lose weight. What’s a girl to do?

So I’m going to experiment. I’m using MyFitnessPal to log my foods and macros (username is YzzyBella if you want to be friends). My current macros are: protein 30% (115g), fat 47% (82g) and carbs 23% (90g) with my calorie goal at 1558. It might be all wrong, any dietician looking at it might think I’m crazy but I’m going to see how I go for the next week and adjust if necessary. Obviously if my blood sugars, weight and blood pressure are rising, then it’s not working for my body and I’m going to have to look again at my macro distribution. Luckily I’ve got the equipment to monitor it daily so also if it falls too rapidly, I know to visit my doctor and look at my medication too. I have to admit that I haven’t done an insane amount of research on macros and this diet. I previously have dabbled low carb before about 4 years ago and I think it worked well for me but then I went to start Slimming World and forgot all about it. If you have any advice, please leave me a comment as knowledge is key, right?

Until next time.. x

Last Week’s Food Prep 3rd-9th July 2017

Hi guys,

So I am writing this a little late – mainly because I was mainly eating on my own (as OH didn’t fancy ANY of the food I had planned!) and I got treated to a couple of meals for doing some extra bits and pieces for people. My £25 food budget ended up lasting me two weeks and I topped up during this week (10-16 July) with some impromptu snack foods as I was working super late one night and had run out of food and a trip to McDonalds >.< so I've probably spent around £50 over the two weeks.

I did the majority of my food prep in one day whilst I was doing some paperwork at home. I did have a couple of cravings for certain foods which I made using stuff I already had so I didn't buy any additional ingredients (10/10 for sticking to the budget for me!).

So first off I cooked my gammon joint from Aldi. I used this recipe from Feisty Tapas and then made a delicious gammon and vegetable soup based on Feisty Tapas’ recipe here. I added a few more veggies to clear out what I had left in the fridge and to bulk it out a little more as well as adding a cinnamon stick, star anise and Sichuan peppercorns for extra flavour. I really do recommend this recipe – it’s so delicious and I love using my new Instant Pot.

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I used about a third of the gammon joint to slice back up and put in the soup and I sliced the rest to use for another meal.

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The night before I marinated my chicken drumsticks. I marinated half in a BBQ sauce I had lying around and the other half I did my own marinade of soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, pepper, chilli, garlic powder and some smoked paprika. I then roasted these and took the meat off the bone for meals, sandwiches or salads in the week.

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At the same time I roasted some new potatoes and carrots to go alongside some meals.

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Whilst the oven was still on, I also roasted my lamb leg with some courgette slices. I put garlic pieces in little slits all over the lamb leg and then covered with salt, pepper and mint sauce.

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Midway through the week I had a craving for a creamy pasta bake. I made a cheese sauce from scratch using a bechamel base (flour, butter, milk). I used some water in place of some of the milk to reduce the calories a little bit. I threw in some of the chicken, a slice of gammon as well as broccoli and cauliflower and some pasta we had in the cupboard. Placed it in the oven for around 20-30 minutes until golden brown and served it with homemade garlic bread. I had made a homemade loaf but forgot to take a photo! To make the garlic bread, I toasted it before putting a mix of butter, garlic powder and chopped garlic and placing it in the oven for the last 5 minutes.

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I also had a super craving for congee late one night after work which I also forgot to take a photo of as it was so late and I was a little hangry. I based my recipe on this one from Pressure Cook Recipes. As I used the chicken I cooked earlier, I reduced the cooking time a little to just cook the rice through. I added preserved Tianjin vegetables and some pieces of spam I had sliced in the freezer from the last time we had hotpot. Really delicious.

As of today, I still have some leftover pieces of lamb and gammon and some frozen veggies and potatoes. My next post will be on some of the meals I’ve eaten over the last couple of weeks.

Until next time.. x

Food Shop & Meal Plan 03.07.17

Hi guys,

As promised, here is my food shop and meal plan for the upcoming week. If you read my update post, you’ll know that I’m preparing myself for a sharp drop in income so I will be curbing my spending and eating more at home.

To prepare for my food shop, I went online to both Asda (as my flatmate has 10% discount) and Aldi (where I live, they are around the corner from each other and only a 5 minute drive from me) to see what special offers there were on meat and vegetables. I then decided which meats I wanted to use and compared them to each other to make sure I was getting the best price. My aim for the shop was £25.

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Frozen items: mixed shredded cabbage (£1) and broccoli & cauliflower (£1.25) from Asda

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Meat: a kilo of chicken drumsticks (£1.89), smoked gammon joint (£2.65) and a half leg of lamb (£7.76) from Aldi

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Fresh items: Charlotte potatoes (95p), 4 baking potatoes (85p), a watermelon (£1.99) from Aldi and semi skimmed milk (75p), 1kg carrots (45p), celery (55p), strawberries (£1) and courgettes (95p) from Asda

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Cupboard items: sugar free tropical blast drink (42p), diet lemonade (19p) from Aldi and mint sauce (83p), bread flour (79p) and mini wraps (75p) from Asda.

In total, I spent £16.68 at Aldi and £7.49 (after discount) at Asda, giving me a grand total of £24.17. I had also planned to get some cherries from Aldi but they were sold out. I still have some avocados, a couple of carrots & potatoes, some smoked salmon, cherry tomatoes from last week’s shop so they will be used up in the next couple of days. I could have been even more under target if I didn’t choose lamb but I have a bad roast dinner craving and I can use the leftovers in sandwiches and whatnot in the week. I can pick up some eggs and rice for free so I will probably top up these at some point too.

Meal Plan

I no longer assign meals to days as I’ve found I’m less likely to follow the meal plan if it’s too rigid! Therefore, breakfasts on my list consist of avocado toast with eggs and tomatoes, granola/cereal with milk or beans on toast with a veggie.

Lunches and dinners will be a mix of: gammon and vegetable soup, gammon steak with potatoes & vegetables, roast chicken dinner, roast lamb dinner, lamb/chicken sandwiches, lamb/chicken stir fry with rice.

So, until next time.. x

I’m back! Update

Hi everyone,

It’s been a long time. A really long time. I apologise! My life has been quite the rollercoaster with work going a bit insane, moving & just being crazy disorganised.

So what’s new? Well, I’m very nearly discharged from the hospital for my diabetes. With work, I was just grabbing food whenever I could, binge eating as I had no idea when I would have time to eat next and drinking an awful lot of sugary drinks to give me energy, which was then followed by massive sugar crashes. I know I was burning myself out but when you’re working with family, sometimes you don’t know how to say no. So the result of this was at my yearly check up in June 2016, the nurse was really worried about my HBA1C (blood sugar level over the past few months) as it had increased rather than decreased. I was given gliclazide, a blood sugar monitor for the first time and a referral to the diabetes clinic. My blood sugars were ranging from 4.2 to 15 and I was all over the place. Though my blood sugars came down, I was a bit of a mess to be honest!

When I visited the clinic in January 2017, the nurse I was with suggested that maybe I try the newest diabetes drug (SGLT2 inhibitors) Farxiga, which prevents the kidneys from reabsorbing the sugar and instead is passed through urine. I recently posted on my instagram that this medication has suited me so much better. Instead of my blood sugars jumping all over the place, I’m now usually around 5-7mmol/L and my energy levels are so much better.

To give you an indicator of how bad it is, the target for HBA1C is 48. In September last year, my result was 98, which is scarily high and more than double the target figure. The gliclazide lowered me to 78 and in May, I hit 60. I have also lost around 4kg (all my doctors now weigh in kilograms opposed to stones and pounds so I’m trying to make the conversion!) which is around 9lbs. My total weight loss from my original start weight is currently at 1st 5lb which is about 8.5kg. It’s been really slow progress but this scare has given me a huge kick up the backside.

I saw my diabetes nurse at the GP the other week and as my blood pressure is now at around 102/77 (before it could hit 147/112 – 120/80 is ideal I think) so she said we’ll monitor my blood pressure as I lose more weight as my medication will need to be adjusted. I literally can’t wait as at the minute I’m taking around 7 tablets for my diabetes and blood pressure, 1 for my hayfever and 2 supplements for hair and energy (I have had quite a lot of hair loss recently due to stress) so less tablets would be more than welcomed.

Current stats:

CW: 93.4kg or 14st 9lb
BMI: 35
Body Fat: 43.4%

Alongside that, in a couple of weeks I will be down a job. I’m now preparing myself for the drop in income by tightening my belt and so I’m getting full swing into meal prepping and researching my shopping list first – so these will be back! I will be looking at weight loss on a budget and keeping tabs back on here to keep me accountable.

So, until next time.. x

Quick Update

Hi guys,

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. Work had gone crazy hectic which I wasn’t expecting (so much for January blues!) so the 60-70 hour work weeks have pretty much ground my life to a standstill. 

I’ve had a consultation at the hospital and been prescribed a new drug which has a side effect of weight loss. It’s only been about a month and although I look a bit skinnier, my scales have stayed the same. Not sure if this is due to me recently taking up swimming again or the lack of home cooking (I’ve unfortunately had a few weeks where I’ve eaten out for every single meal – ridiculous I know!). 

Leading onto my budget. I’ll be honest, I haven’t really had one the past six or seven weeks. Everything has kind of been ticking over and my eating out bill has been considerable but my credit card bill (I put everything on it) is less than expected and I’ve just booked a mini break away at the end of March so it can’t be too bad. I’m hoping for things to die down a little bit so I can focus on myself before the rush of Mother’s Day and Easter so I can blog a bit more and take a closer look at my finances. 

On the whole, I think I’m ok. The long weeks are dragging me down and for some crazy reason I decided this was the best time to start a CIMA unit so all in all, I’m surviving. I hope you’re all well and I’ll see you (hopefully!) soon.  

Until next time.. x